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Ford may announce autonomous car deal with Google early Jan.

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FordsFORD Motor Co. may become the world auto leader in autonomous cars if its current discussion with technology giant, Google to have the automaker build Google’s next-generation autonomous cars under contract yields meaningful result.

Indeed, it is expected that the announcement may come as early as January 4th next year during the yearly International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Though it was learnt that both parties have been negotiating on a contract manufacturing deal “for a long time”, a Google spokesman told Autonew that the company would not comment on speculation. But Google officials confirmed that the company is talking to automakers.

Ford spokesman, Alan Hall: “We work with a lot of tech companies all over the world. We keep these discussions private for obvious competitive reasons and we do not comment on speculation,” he said.

Recently, Google has added two veteran Ford executives to its leadership team. Former Ford CEO Alan Mulally joined Google’s board of directors eight days after he retired from the automaker on July 1, 2014. Then in September, Google hired John Krafcik as CEO of the company’s Self-Driving Car Project. Krafcik, who most recently was president of TrueCar Inc., was CEO of Hyundai Motor America. He spent 14 years at Ford, including a stint as chief engineer during the development of the Ford Expedition SUV.

Ford is scheduled to hold a press conference Jan. 5 in Las Vegas. CEO Mark Fields, product development chief Raj Nair, research and advanced engineering vice president Ken Washington, and Don Butler, executive director of connected vehicles and services, are scheduled to attend.


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